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#643 - "Do the Same" by Aryn Michelle
New artist Aryn Michelle challenges both herself and listeners to forsake comfort in order to follow Christ in this song from her debut album.

Aryn Michelle's powerful voice first found a home in her local church. Her love for music and her abilities were honed over time through earning a degree in songwriting at the Berklee School of Music. Aryn explored multiple different aspects of the music industry before deciding that, more than anything, she wanted to go wherever God would lead her. The result is her debut album, Depth.

In the style of my favorite singer-songwriters Christa Wells, Sara Groves and Ellie Holcomb, I can't get enough of Aryn's thought-provoking album. I had the chance to speak with Aryn about one of my top "gourmet" songs of the year, "Do the Same."
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

Some sermons just hit you right between the eyes. One day my pastor said "Jesus didn't live the life that He lived so that you could be safe and comfortable. He lived the life He lived so that you could be enabled to live the same way."
The more I thought about that, I started questioning whether I really live my life like Jesus lived. He lived His life as a suffering Servant. Had I ever really considered this truth before? Does being a follower of Christ literally mean following Christ's example? Probably so. And if it is so, to be a follower of Christ may mean patterning my life after the life that He lived. So then, what kind of life did Jesus live? The opening line of the song is very vulnerable and addresses my own prayer requests asking for comfort and safety.
Jesus didn't pursue a life of comfort, safety and pleasure. It wasn't enough for Him to follow a Christian "to-don't list." His life wasn't just about avoiding sin, but about pursuing righteousness. His best friends were blue-collar fisherman. He placed Himself in risky situations. He was more concerned about speaking the truth then about making good impressions and climbing the social ladder. He ate with sinners and prostitutes and tax collectors. He didn't amass physical wealth.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying there's anything inherently wrong in finding yourself in a place of comfort and safety, but what I am saying is that there might be a big problem if the pursuit of comfort, safety and pleasure has become one of my life's highest goals and priorities. If the pursuit of these things is hindering me from living a life like Jesus lived, then maybe comfort and pleasure are more important to me than being a follower of Christ.
This is a deeply disturbing possibility. So I had to ask myself this question: "Is the pursuit of comfort, safety and pleasure one of my highest life priorities?" My knee-jerk reaction said, "No, of course not." An honest evaluation may say otherwise.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Luke 18:18-24 (NASB): A ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone." "You know the commandments, 'DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'" And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth." When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the Kingdom of God!"
Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV): Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
Luke 9:25 (NKJV): "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?"
Philippians 3:8 (NKJV): "Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."
1 Peter 2:21 (NIV): "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example; that you should follow in His steps."
What is the takeaway message?

I thought about how I make little decisions every day. Was there any selfish ambition at the root of my acts of service? Was I willing to sacrifice only up to the point that things began to get uncomfortable? Do I surround myself with the needy, the hurting, the sick and the poor? Do I speak the truth, or am I satisfied with platitudes that won't offend? Does my life, in the small day-to-day details, look like the life of Christ?
This song reflects my struggle with this big question. It's easy to say that you care more about following Jesus than pursuing worldly comforts, but it's much harder to live that way. And I don't think these worldly treasures simply consist of power, prestige and private jets. We can easily slip into a "Christian" version of worldly pursuits.
What do we care more about in our churches: decor or discipleship?  How do I view the purpose of my home: a place to store things or a place to share? What is the treasure of my heart: my reputation or my repentance? I know I haven't achieved this level of Christ-likeness. I know there are still strongholds in my heart that I sometimes choose to place above the pursuit of Christ. But I hope that in recognizing that following Christ means literally following in the demonstrated footsteps of Christ, I may keep my priorities in clearer focus.
I start my prayers with that same old line
Bless me, help me, heal me, keep me safe at night
Sitting so pretty in a seat saved for me,
It's just too easy keeping up the routine
I hold on to a Sunday best commitment
But You want more from me
You didn't die so that I could follow all the rules
You didn't bleed so that we could make ourselves look good
You didn't rise from the grave to keep me safe
You gave it all so that I could do the same
Feeling good just ain't good enough
Cause there's hungry mouths and broken hearts that need Your love
The high and the mighty build towers and walls
but the humble and empty, You use and You call
I've spent too long look back, looking inward
There's so much more to see
You didn't die so that I could follow all the rules
You didn't bleed so that we could make ourselves look good
You didn't rise from the grave to keep me safe
You gave it all so that I could do the same
You came to seek and to save, a rebel heart, a wayward slave
So let me live a life worthy of Your name
You didn't die so that I could follow all the rules
You didn't bleed so that we could make ourselves look good
You didn't rise from the grave to keep me safe
You gave it all so that I could do the same

The story in scripture about the rich young ruler is an extremely powerful passage. Many Christians think they are doing "good" by following the 10 commandments, just like the Rich Young Ruler. I grew up with that same perspective, believing I was good enough because I didn't steal, murder or miss church very often. The freedom of the Gospel is that I have come to grips with the fact that I'll never be good enough to inherit eternal life. Only the saving Love of Jesus and choosing Him as my Savior and Redeemer invites me into the Kingdom of Heaven.
"Do the Same" is a transparent, vulnerable and moving ballad. This song is one of the many highlights of this "gourmet" offering of praise and worship to Jesus. Rarely has an album affected me this deeply, as many of the songs cause me to physically feel the depth and sincerity of Aryn's goosebump-inducing, emotional vocals. Aryn is clearly in love with Jesus, and the way these songs on Depth convey her relationship with our Lord and Savior is truly inspiring and convicting.
From this song, I am challenged to commit to pray more fervently, study God's Word more diligently and give more sacrificially. This is a great song that stirs my heart and increases my convictions to grow closer to God. We all love our comforts, and this song challenges me to think more of others and to share Christ more than to focus on myself. The cost of discipleship is to make Him the Lord of our lives.
The bridge of this song completely wrecks me: "You came to seek and to save, a rebel heart, a wayward slave, so let me live a life worthy of Your name." What a powerful expression of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. He is all we need. Join in with Aryn as she prays out to Jesus: "You didn't rise from the grave to keep me safe, You gave it all so that I could do the same." Amen to that!
(Watch Aryn sing the song here.)

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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